Chapter 1: Theory-driven, practice-driven, and “sweet spot” management research
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Readers are invited to consider where they aspire to position their research along three dimensions: 1) advancing theory, advancing practice, or both; 2) achieving scientific rigor, relevance, or both; and 3) speaking primarily to scholars, practitioners, or both. After comparing and contrasting traditional theory-driven and practice-driven research approaches, a third approach is described that seeks a sweet spot that integrates these dimensions. This approach is carried out at the intersection of theory and practice, and aims to apply, develop and test theoretical knowledge while advancing practice. To achieve the latter, it must be applicable, useful, and actionable. The flow from research to practice is depicted as a value stream with multiple pathways through which the knowledge generated can reach and impact practice. Researchers are urged to consider how to position themselves along this value stream and what kinds of relationships they will need to build to impact both theory and practice.